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Poly want a bigger bus stop - Country Day School pushes for 800-ft. zone

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An 800-foot-long bus loading zone tops the wish list of Poly Prep Country Day School, which has approached the local community board with its requests. At the February meeting of the Community Board 10 Traffic & Transportation Committee, which was held at the board office, 621 86th Street, representatives of the tony private school made the case for their requests, which also include adding sidewalk lighting along Seventh Avenue outside the school grounds, an enlargement of the school’s two curb cuts (one on Seventh Avenue and one on 92nd Street), a traffic light at the Seventh Avenue entrance, and moving the bus stop from the corner across from Victory Memorial Hospital on Seventh Avenue to the other side of Poly’s main entrance. The purpose of many of the changes would be to improve safety, particularly pupil safety, said Steven Andersen, the school’s associate headmaster and Vincent Rutuelo, Poly Prep’s director of security. Rutuelo told board members that there is space for only seven buses at the curb currently, with regular parking regulations in effect along the rest of the strip. However, he said that the school uses 23, all of which arrive at the same time, at 4 p.m. and then again at 6 p.m., for pick-up, and which end up double-parked. To accommodate them, Rutuelo said, “We would like to get school bus parking only from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” along the length of Seventh Avenue adjacent to the school. “In most schools, that’s the standard parking time for buses,” Rutuelo added. The need for lighting stems from the 6 p.m. dismissal time at the school. “You walk down that block, it’s dark,” noted Rutuelo, “and there are too many trees on the block, and they do impede the lighting on the sidewalk, so we’re looking to get lighting increased along the sidewalk, for the safety of students as well.” The school also wants to shift the position of its main entrance, 17 feet toward the army base, and increase the curb cut there from 20 to 30 feet, and its 92nd Street curb cut to 27 feet. The purpose of this, said Andersen, is to increase visibility for cars pulling out of the school grounds, “which is very difficult with two cars pulling in or out. “We have a lot of issues with people racing to beat the light,” he noted. “We want to visually enhance both entrances, but it’s more of a safety and security issue for us.” Moving the bus stop would also enhance visibility for vehicles pulling out onto Seventh Avenue, said Andersen, because where it is currently located, if something is parked in it, “It’s difficult to see when you pull out, and we get a lot of cars that stop and sit. It’s dangerous as it is, and then not to have any view at all.” The purpose of the added traffic light at the main entrance is also to help vehicles exiting the grounds. “If you’re coming out and you want to make a left, you have to make it across traffic,” Andersen explained. Board members were mixed in their response to the requests. While George Prezioso seemed to feel that Poly should get “the same signs as at other schools,” Bob Cassara noted that reserving 800 feet of curb space for bus parking only all day long, five days a week, “Goes against what we’re trying to do in Bay Ridge, get more parking.” “I don’t know any other school that needs space for 23 buses,” added Doris Cruz. “I think they’re asking for an awful lot.” The proximity of the two hospitals – the V.A. Medical Center and Victory Memorial – is an issue, noted Toby Russo, who suggested that representatives of the medical facilities come to a joint meeting with Poly Prep at the community board so the concerns of all could be aired.

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